“Marilyn Diptych” by Alexandra Naughton (FICTION)


Marilyn Monroe appears walking into court wearing messy long platinum blonde hair cut with Stevie Nicks bangs. Her eyes cannot be seen but her cheeks are full and she looks kind of adorable in an oversized black sweatshirt like a grungy cherub with plastic mermaid hair. She straightens her wig.

“Let’s get started, reckless endangerment in the,” the bailiff says, now looking at Marilyn Monroe. Gesturing toward a large desk, the bailiff asks, “Will you please step up?”

Marilyn Monroe brushes some of the wig out of her face walking, shuffling forward slowly in her slippers, to the desk alongside her lawyer.

“Yeah?” she says, looking at the bailiff for what to do next. Marilyn Monroe stands coyly twirling a few strands of wig, then re-parting, smoothing down on either side, checking so most of her face is covered.

“Thank you,” he says. “Reckless endangerment to the second degree, attempt–er, attempted tampering with physical evidence, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Pre-sworn affidavit is signed, council have you read it?”

Marilyn Monroe’s lawyer, a stubby man in a black suit and dyed brown hair looks up, says “Yes,” looks back down at his papers.

The District Attorney, a quiet man in a grey suit, coughs. “Your Honor, the people would like to move to amend to reflect in the paperwork that the defendant’s name is first name Marilyn, that’s M-a-r-i-l-y-n, last name Monroe, M-o-n-r-o-e.”

Marilyn Monroe is grooming herself running her fingers through the long front strands. She stares straight ahead shaking her head mouthing some silent words, lots of “o” shapes. Her eyes still cannot be seen. Her lawyer is looking down at his papers.

“Your Honor,” the DA says, “At this time we request the bail in the amount of one thousand dollars cash. It was observed that the defendant was cutting open a cigar purchased from a corner store and then using it to roll a marijuana cigarette which she smoked in the lobby of her apartment building and later throwing a bong out of the thirty-four, um, thirty-sixth floor apartment window where there were people below. For these reasons, your Honor, we request bail in the amount of one thousand dollars cash money.”

Marilyn Monroe shakes her head as in disbelief. Her lips are without any type of lipstick or polish, and are almost the color of her face. The same with her wig, it is as flushed out and destitute as the color of her face. The look is semi-garish and if it weren’t for her dainty features, her full lips and her upturned nose, what then. The long disheveled wig hair italicizes the look of innocence about her, a lost child who removed her leash and strayed too far from mother at the zoo. A small girl who couldn’t find her way out of Wonderland.

“Your Honor,” her lawyer starts, “I would ask that Ms. Monroe be released on her own recognizances. There was no bong–“

“Let me just ask the people,” the judge interrupts, “Was there anything recovered here after this item was allegedly thrown out the window?”

It is not clear what Marilyn Monroe is staring at, if her eyes are even open at all, but she seems to be gazing at something intensely. She makes no movement, other than the occasional sway. She is stoic. Perhaps she is picturing herself sunbathing on a tropical island, cool drink in her hand. Perhaps she is trying to remember where in her apartment she hid the canister containing four grams of Orange Velvet. Perhaps she’s just thinking about which can of soup she will eat when she returns home. One can’t be certain.

“Not according to the report, your Honor,” the prosecutor mumbles.

“According to the complaint, your Honor,” defense council cuts in, “There was nothing recovered from the sidewalk. If you read the last sentence of the criminal court complaint, your Honor, it clearly indicates that nothing was recovered. So clearly a search was made for the bong, nothing was recovered. My client completely denies ever having thrown anything out of the window.”

Marilyn Monroe moves her head up and down in agreement. She looks like a grade-schooler facing a bully, with her older brother or some other type of male figure as backup. She is leaning forward and moving her head up and down and she seems satisfied. She is tossing the long strands of her wig back from her face and she seems pleased with her defense. Nah nah. Only her lips and nose can be seen from behind the wig.

Defense continues, “She was followed illegally, uh, into her uh, a-apartment for no reason. Um, she has filed a complaint, I believe, with Internal Affairs for inappropriate action by the police department. She has never been in any trouble before, your Honor.”

One may consider the headlines. Poor, poor Marilyn Monroe. Young starlette hooked on drugs. Marilyn drops the bong. Get thee to a mental hospital. Marilyn Monroe’s smash hit. One may think what she is doing is working.

The Judge asks Marilyn Monroe, “Do you live here in Manhattan?”

Marilyn looks straight forward, as she has been, looking up and moving her head, “I do sir.” She is just like a good schoolgirl.

“And do you plan on staying in Manhattan?”

“Uh,” Marilyn Monroe takes a moment, moving her head, “Um, yes.”

“Go ahead, council,” the Judge says.

Defense council says, “Under the circumstances we ask that Ms. Monroe be released on her own recognizances, your Honor.”

“All right, Ms Monroe, we’re going to release you today,” the Judge begins. Marilyn Monroe is smiling and nodding subtly.

“Even though the DA has asked for bail because,” the judge pauses for almost exactly three seconds, looking at Marilyn Monroe, “I believe you’re going to return.”

The courtroom erupts into a soft cloud of dull whispering conversations. Everyone is talking about Marilyn Monroe. She threw a glass bong out the damn window! What’s with that black sweatshirt? Did she bang some guy and steal his clothes? You know they wouldn’t have been as lenient with Lena Horne. I can’t believe this bitch got away with it again. What kind of weave was that? It looked like she didn’t even brush her teeth. She looks like she smells. I’ll bet she was stoned for the whole proceeding.

Marilyn Monroe is looking down at a piece of paper on the desk that the bailiff is holding. The bailiff is explaining something to her. Take this here, sign this here. Marilyn Monroe is moving her head up and down. She is not playing with her strands. She is behaving. “If you fail to appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.” The bailiff has done this thousands of times.

“Thank you, sir,” Marilyn Monroe enunciates the words loudly, drawing out the “r.”

“Thank you,” Marilyn Monroe says taking a pink slip of paper from the bailiff, waving, “thank you.”


Alexandra Naughton is a writer in Oakland, California. She runs Be About It Press and is co-host of the monthly literary/variety show Be Live About It. She is the author of I Will Always Be Your Whore (love songs for billy corgan) (2014) and You Could Never Objectify Me More Than I’ve Already Objectified Myself (2015) by Punk Hostage Press, My Posey Taste Like by Bottlecap Press, and I Will Always Be In Love by Paper Press (2015).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s